Due to an ongoing manhunt in Pisgah National Forest (more on that here), several popular recreational areas near Brevard, North Carolina have been closed to visitors, but multiple businesses in the area remain open despite a heavy police presence.
The search for Phillip Michael Stroupe II, who is accused of stealing a mountain bike at gunpoint before fleeing into the woods off of Avery’s Creek Road, is being concentrated to the east of Highway 276 in the Mills River area where Stroupe was last seen.
The Brevard Police Department has joined forces with the Transylvania Sheriff’s Department, the U.S. Forest Service Law Enforcement, NC State Highway Patrol and helicopter support, Henderson County Sheriff’s Office and Special Response Team, the NC State Bureau of Investigation, and the Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office, to search the forest for Stroupe, who has been described as a survivalist, but as of now he remains at large.
According to Public Information Officer Bob Beanblossom of the United State Forest Service, forest closures include the Pisgah Ranger Station and Visitors Center off of US276, the Cradle of Forestry where the command post for the man hunt has been setup, Looking Glass Falls, the popular Sliding Rock swimming area and the Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education at the fish hatchery. Visitors should also avoid the Yellow Gap Road, Turkey Pen Gap, Trace Ridge, and Wash Creek.
According to sources in Brevard, the Davidson River Campground remains accessible for employees and visitors with reservations.
Businesses at the gate of Pisgah on Highway 276 remain open but have suffered as a result of road closures. Those businesses include The Hub and Pisgah Tavern, Davidson River Outfitters, Pilot Cove, and Ecusta Brewing Company among others.
On Saturday, robbery victims Aaron Fischer and Chris Swann of Athens, Georgia gave a video interview to the Transylvania Times from the patio of the The Hub, and nearby Ecusta Brewing has been putting up campers who were forced to evacuate the forest in the wake of the manhunt.
Stay tuned to BlueRidgeOutdoors.com for updates on this developing story.